10 Best Cult Classic Movies

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: June 29, 2023 (Last updated: April 29, 2024)

While often we’re satisfied settling in and watching the latest Marvel blockbuster or high-budget release, sometimes we want to stick on a cult classic. When the mood strikes us, we want to immerse ourselves in something that combines a unique take on popular culture with a healthy dose of nostalgia. These movies often bring us together and create a sense of community amongst fans who may not otherwise be connected. 

Read on to discover our picks of the best cult classics. We will discuss why they have proved so popular over the years and highlight what we think the next cult classic will be.

What is a cult classic movie?

Cult classic movies possess an indescribable quality that sets them apart from mainstream cinema. These movies gain a diehard following over time that are dedicated to the film, yet on release, they usually struggle to find success. They often defy genre and effortlessly traverse various themes and subjects. 

Despite this, there is no set formula for something becoming a cult classic. Sometimes they are set apart by being completely different from anything else that exists. Other times, they present themselves as the best example of the genre in which they sit.

10 best cult classic movies

1: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975):

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” blends sci-fi, horror, and comedy with over-the-top characters and iconic musical numbers. This film’s cult following grew through interactive screenings, and fans are known to dress up and join in with the music when viewing.

2: Donnie Darko (2001):

As far as cult classic horror movies go, this is one of the best. “Donnie Darko” is a science fiction psychological thriller that has gained a dedicated fan base in the twenty years since it originally hit our screens. The narrative going back and forth in time combined with the film’s confusing nature means viewers are encouraged to rewatch in order to fully understand the plot. With each viewing fans are likely to feel more connected to the film and discover things they previously hadn’t picked up on.

3: The Big Lebowski (1998):

This Coen Brothers masterpiece follows the overly chilled-out Lebowski as he navigates a kidnapping plot. Its eccentric characters, unforgettable moments and endlessly quotable dialogue have earned it a devoted cult following.

4: Blade Runner (1982):

“Blade Runner” introduced audiences to breathtaking visuals in a dystopian future. The sci-fi storyline follows a member of the police searching for artificial beings who challenge the meaning of humanity. With its existential themes, gritty, neon-tinged setting and unforgettable performances, this film has become an iconic cult classic.

5: Fight Club (1999):

“Fight Club” covers many themes throughout its playtime, but notably passes comment on consumerism and masculinity through its protagonist and his alter-ego. This cult classic movie delves into the dark underbelly of American society and its characters’ minds. Its unique narrative, social commentary and shocking twists have made it a cult classic that can be watched again and again.

6: The Room (2003):

Although it is sometimes considered as one of the “worst” movies ever made, “The Room” has gained its cult status by how hilariously bad it is. Its unintentionally funny dialogue, strange acting and insane plot have made audiences love this film. Even 20 years after its release, cinemas will often screen this film to adoring fans wanting to watch the awkward script being acted out one more time.

7: Eraserhead (1977):

David Lynch’s directorial debut, “Eraserhead,” takes the viewer on a journey portraying a man tormented by his mutant child. The otherworldly imagery and black-and-white look of this film have made it a cult classic among Lynch’s devoted followers.

8: Office Space (1999):

“Office Space” is a satirical comedy that follows company workers who are sick of their jobs at a typical American office and decide to rebel. This cult classic movie likely gained its status as its relatable premise resonated with audiences who felt the same way about their jobs. 

9: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004):

The most recently released film on this list, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” has already earned itself cult status among some of its fans. This romantic drama follows a couple who break up and undergo a procedure to erase each other from their memories. With its interesting premise, insights on love and loss and interesting visuals, this is a film that seems to leave a poignant note for viewers.

10: Pulp Fiction (1994):

Quentin Tarentino’s most well-known film and perhaps one of the most referenced movies in popular culture, Pulp Fiction, is a certified cult classic. Following the stories of various protagonists as their lives are intertwined, the audience are treated to something new on each viewing. Tarentino’s signature conversational style within scenes and iconic characters help to cement this as a favourite of fans and critics alike.

Future cult classics:

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022):

Only recently released, we think “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” has the potential to become a cult classic. Nicholas Cage, playing a down-and-out version of himself, visits a fan when things take an unexpected turn. Nicholas Cage films already have a tendency to reach cult status, with audiences often stating that he is always simply playing a version of himself. So with the actor turning to address this premise and poking fun of himself, how can this completely meta-movie not become a future cult classic?

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010):

“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” has the potential to become a cult classic movie based on its stylish visuals, video game references, and infectious soundtrack. The high-energy action-comedy follows Scott Pilgrim as he battles his new girlfriend’s various exes in a variety of unique situations.

The Lobster (2015):

Often described as an ‘absurdist dark comedy,’ “The Lobster ” explores a fictional society where singles must find a partner within a designated timeframe or be turned into animals. It’s a film like no other, with a completely unique premise and one-of-a-kind visual styling, meaning this film could easily be a future cult classic.

Further Reading

Lists, Movie Lists, Movies